News that Byron Shire Council has moved to sell off the iconic ‘Roundhouse’ site in Ocean Shores will bring mixed emotions for our community and those who worked hard to preserve this site over many years.
One of the first actions I took upon being elected to parliament was to write to the NSW lands minister, Niall Blair on May 14 seeking an urgent meeting to ask the government to purchase the Roundhouse site from council for community use.
Unfortunately, the government wasn’t interested. Despite repeated representations from the Ocean Shores Community Association (OSCA) and my lobbying of various ministers, it’s quite clear that the Liberal-National State Government has learnt nothing from the record swings against them at the last state election here on the north coast and wants to continue the decades of neglect experienced by the Ocean Shores community.
The fact that the sale of the Roundhouse site has been part of Byron Council’s Financial Sustainability Plan for many years and a prerequisite for investment in other community infrastructure in the Ocean Shores area, demonstrates that we need a fairer funding model for local councils in NSW.
Asset sales, deteriorating roads and the introduction of paid parking are all symptomatic of a funding model that doesn’t work for high-visitation, tourism shires like ours.
In spite of the state government’s inaction and failure to redress funding issues for our shire, I will continue to fight to ensure that Ocean Shores and the rest of our community starts to get the attention we deserve.
Tamara Smith, MP for Ballina